As has been chronicled on these here blog pages, I am not the most careful person. Missing fingertips, stab wounds in my leg from my own knife, nails in my hand all seem to lend credence to Melissa's obsession with my lack of carefulness. Well, we had a water problem the other day and I had to go a quarter mile to get to the meter. Bad planning on my part to not have it in place already. So, I went to the hardware store and got the parts I needed to remedy the situation only to find that the valve box was a new bee hive. See the little fellas in there? The comb is three layers deep and full of eggs. The fact I could get close enough to get this picture indicates that these are European bees, not Africanized bees. The Africanized bees are the ones the media likes to call "killer bees". These were much more docile "hurt you bees". While they were the more docile bees, they were not going to let me get in there, cut the pipe, set new fittings and then reset the box. Bees get real mad when you move their home around.
A good can of wasp killer would probably have taken care of them, but since we already have a hive and the oh so cool looking beekeeper outfit I decided that this swarm could be moved from where they were to another spot and it would give us a second hive. What could go wrong? So I put on the bee suit, taped my shirt closed and strapped my pants legs tight to my boots and away went to move the bees. I also had Faith do a photo shoot of the event as it would make for either a blog post, a slide show for the funeral or both.
The first thing you do is make a fire in the smoker. You light some jute and pump the bellows like there is no tomorrow. I was doing this in 90 degree heat and that shirt is a thick winter weight shirt. I thought I was gonna stroke out, the bees were not as big a worry. You can't drink through the mesh. Anyway, got the fire going, got the smoke pumping and pumped it all over the bees. I pulled the box out of the ground and I moved it about 20 feet to the west and sat it on top of a honey super that was not in use.
There were a few bees that decided to stay at the old place and give me grief. They have subsequently moved out, I think they went to the new hive but they all look alike and I didn't bother to get their names. For the rest of the day, though, they would not let me get within 15 feet of the valves and pipes. I'd see them as soon as they saw me and they'd send a kamikaze straight for my head. I should have let one of them sting me as I had a touch of arthritis a couple of weeks ago and bee venom will knock that back.
The lid I am holding was clean when I knocked it off the box the night before and they had already started a honeycomb in order to make the newly rearranged utility box their home.
The new hive is getting reestablished and I lived through another day. I a couple of weeks I am going to move the main hive to another part of the farm, away from the cows and near the future garden and orchard. I may have Faith tape this next one so we can post it on YouTube as "Dumb guy runs and screams like little girl." Watch for it.